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Survé wins interim interdict preventing Nedbank closing accounts

Iqbal Surve and his businesses can keep using their Nedbank accounts pending an equality court hearing into claims of discrimination.
Iqbal Surve and his businesses can keep using their Nedbank accounts pending an equality court hearing into claims of discrimination.
Image: Gallo Images

Sekunjalo Group's Iqbal Survé has won an interim interdict preventing Nedbank from closing dozens of bank accounts.

The equality court in Cape Town ruled on Friday that any accounts that have already been closed should be reopened with immediate effect.

The court also ordered that the accounts must be operated on unchanged terms and conditions pending the final determination of Sekunjalo’s main equality court application.

“I agree with the submission by the Sekunjalo group that given its long-standing relationship with Nedbank and in the light of the ... potential harm the balance of the convenience is in favour of restoring, retaining the status quo,” said judge Mokgoatji Dolamo.

He said Sekunjalo had established a prima facie case that it has been unfairly discriminated against.

The applicants in the case are Survé and 43 others representing the Sekunjalo Group while the respondents are Nedbank and Nedbank Private Wealth.

Sekunjalo argued that Nedbank's conduct in issuing  termination notices amounts to racial discrimination and contravenes the Equality Act. 

The bank said the racism allegations were devoid of merit and unsubstantiated by facts, adding that Survé would not suffer any irreparable harm if the interdict was not granted and his complaints are upheld in due course.

Nedbank said it would be severely prejudiced if it is forced to continue providing bank services to the group, given the substantial risk of reputational harm.

However, Dolamo said: “The reality is that once Nedbank closes the Sekunjalo group's bank accounts it would be difficult to find another bank which will accept them as clients.”

He ordered Nedbank to pay Sekunjalo's legal costs.

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